It's strange how childhood memories suddenly come back at the weirdest times. The other night I was lying in bed with my eyes shut and on the verge of sleep when memories of a house my parents had lived in, just flooded me, so much so it woke me up!
This house was in Ranchi, Bihar, where my father worked in a Public Sector Undertaking for around 3 years. It was an old British made bungalow for some government officer I think--PSG bungalow. Spacious and airy, it was a gracious house. The thick walls and the surrounding verandahs kept the house cool in the hot Bihar summers.
There were 4 bedrooms surrounding a large sitting room and a dining area. The kitchen was far away--as was common in houses in pre-Independence India. But an area near the dining room had been converted into a small kitchen. The bungalow had extensive grounds with a number of fruit trees of different kinds.
The memory that woke me, was of the room I used while in that house. I had asked and was given a room at the front of the house, opening out onto a broad, shady verandah that ran the whole length of the front of the house. I was given the choice to do up the room the way I wanted --with available furnishings.
The memory of the bright emerald green bedspreads I had was so clear that it was almost tangible. The thought of the colour in my mind's eye, then dredged out other objects that I had loved--my guitar hung on the wall, the music system in pride of place and some posters on the wall. I saw myself as I had been then--wearing a green sari and my thick, frizzy hair in a tight braid!
There arose also, the memory of two of the fruit trees, a guava tree just out back behind the house and a huge jamun tree in the front of the house, beside the gate. The tree bore a large number of plump jamuns and all the kids in the neighbourhood would be outside the gate, picking jamuns during the season. Somehow no jamun I've eaten after that has seemed as good. Sadly I don't remember any mango trees, though I love mangoes.
I remember too, a singing master who came to teach me during one of my vacations and of all things Bengali music. I only remember two of the songs, one an East Bengali boat song and one a song of Tagore's!
I searched for the house in Google maps. But then I thought it must have been long gone--probably given way for a whole host of houses perhaps.